Category Archives: HEROS & INSPIRATIONS

(people, places and things that inspire & light my fire)

A life arrested

Opposite of Loneliness

There’s a theory that a person’s emotional development stops at the age at which one starts taking drugs.

Maybe this same theory can be expounded upon to include the whole of a life halted in its development due to a variety of reasons, whether family dysfunction or other external factors – arrested in a paradigm much like Bill Murray’s character’s was in Groundhog Day, manoeuvring through the same damned day until he finally gets it right, gets to move on to the next step, and the next, and so on. Bill’s protagonist has an antagonist who is also an ally, in whom he has a vested interest that propels him forward.

I have no such character assist. I don’t even know how to get started on the business of procuring one (though a huge chunk of my life was spent flailing around in the process of attempting to achieve just that). I was under the (clearly) erroneous assumption that in order to get to the next step I would absolutely have to find that other character in order to move forward with my own story. None of the varied and sundry ways I tried resulted in the opposite of loneliness, but I’ve come to find that I’ve become comfortable with my aloneness.

In this space, I write.
I write my way into corners.
I chase words in circles.

I follow the tail of an idea, of emotions whose teeth have gently clasped onto me, unwilling to let me go. I don’t know know where they want to take me, but I’ve come to trust the process, whether or not it amounts to a great piece of writing, or simply provides an outlet for a jumble of thoughts so that they may reach coherence.

I’ve begun reading The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. By the end of the introduction (by her professor Anne Fadiman), I was misty-eyed, sorry for fate of the arrested life of someone so promising. Upon reading the first essay (titled the same as the book) tears came anew along with a sense of kinship.

At 52, I can still relate to her words. They were true for a 22 year old, but I’ve come to find that they are just as true now for someone like me, thirty years older. I hold the same hopes, harbour the same feelings of inadequacy. I wonder how much of it is due to the arrested development of my younger self and how much of it is merely a byproduct of the human condition.

The truth is, we are still SO YOUNG, even me, at 52. And in Marina’s words, “…[w]e can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility, because in the end, it’s all we have.”

I do envy something that Marina had which I have in my 52 years of life been incapable of feeling: “remarkably, unbelievably safe”. Perhaps it is a character flaw, perhaps it’s merely a situational anomaly, that I’ve not for most of the years I’ve lived in this world, felt truly and unequivocally, safe.

It has, however, forced me toward a bravery that I am always astonished to discover that I can muster. I’ve overcome many things simply because I had to get to the other side of them in order to remain intact. I may have at times seemed to be spineless, may have sometimes been graceless, and at times been a downright asshole throughout the process, but I mostly always take something away from each of these experiences, whether immediately or through the distance that the passage of time affords.

It would be foolish of me to say that I have no regrets. I have many, and they multiply with every passing year, with each choice, each road taken (or not), but I release them after I think on them and mourn what could have been, and make more choices.

Whether mistakes or successes, life moves along at an incredible clip. This automated and electronically dense world we live in, it speeds along dizzyingly, doesn’t allow us to dwell on things for too long. I can only hope that the choices I am making now will lead me to where I eventually want to be, and that the vision of where that is becomes clearer as I move closer toward it.

We all need allies, though, and I hope to be as good a one as those who I hope to consort with on this journey. As much as writing is a solitary practice, it can not be done in a vacuum. It needs the eyes and hearts of others to keep it true to course. Onwards, then – bravely.

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on reading piles, writing


It’s chilly outside today. I can feel the bite in the air hinting at what the fallen leaves that have begun to litter the walkways for the last couple of weeks have been soundlessly saying: fall is almost here. It’s my favourite time of year.

Nothing is more appealing on days like today (or yesterday, for that matter) than to cozy up in a quilt and read. I can’t resist a good book, even though I should be writing one instead of diving headlong into my reading pile.

I read through Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yesterday. Since it essentially is a bound version of the play, it consists mostly of dialog and scene set-up.

I loved the story.

I think we often (as we move through our lives) wonder about the choices we make, and how a different one would have changed our circumstances. This story provides a means for us to vicariously travel along with these characters and see different outcomes. It highlights the perfect imperfection of the human condition, and how much of who we become depends upon those we choose to journey with during our lifetime, and how gracefully we accept our own and others’ periodical defeats.

Prior to even receiving the book (which was an unexpected and most appreciated gift from my son and his girlfriend) I had read through many online critiques of the plot line (and the spoilers, because that’s just who I am). They were a bit off-putting, to be honest, and so when I began to read yesterday I was pleasantly surprised that it was an immersive experience and brought me back into the make believe world that I’d come to love so much.

A week ago from last Friday I took a spill while rushing to the train station between jobs. I injured my right shoulder and it’s been slow to recover. I probably should go to the emergency unit and get it x-rayed but I keep putting it off because I have such little spare time and don’t particularly relish spending it in a hospital line up. I set yesterday as my getting better or going to have it looked at limit and ended up resting instead of going to hospital. It’s getting better but I still can’t properly lift my arm from a certain angle.

I plan on working on one of my own stories today. I have a four hour shift late afternoon but until then I want to get to know my characters a bit better, perhaps write some back story. Maybe I’ll even get to start on the next book in my reading pile. And there will be Dutch Babies for breakfast.

What are you reading these days?

remembrance day part deux

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 3.25.18 PM

click on image for an eloquent recap at The Elephant Journal of Vonnegut’s words…

I wanted to write a whole big blog post on “the horrors of war”.
About how my dad (and a band of his friends), as twenty year old young men witnessing the Soviet tanks rolling into their city to “liberate” the people from their last oppressor, decided to throw molotov cocktails at them in protest.
About how he spent the next five years in a Siberian prisoner of war work camp, and what he looked like when they let him out.
I wanted to write about how it warped him inside, in ways that weren’t discernible to the eye.
I wanted to write about how my mother was born mere months before Armistice Day, and that the borders of the country she was born into shifted and thus she became (an unwitting) citizen of another.
I wanted to write about how around the time of the second world war, after the soviet occupation, she was held and interrogated for a week by the NKV because they thought that she was a spy (she wasn’t).
I wanted to write about how even in the safety of North America my father still couldn’t shake the habit of stockpiling things like flour and sugar and salt.
I wanted to write about how even though my parents had experienced and seen first hand the effects of the first and second world wars, they rarely ever spoke of them, though the effects were as tangible and persistent as poltergeists in an old house.
I wanted to write about how their experiences were not exceptions but rather the rule.
There are no clear victors in war.

the barron

StoreyTalk_web[with Barron in L.A. at the Bert Green Gallery]

I don’t think that there is an artist who has inspired me more than Barron Storey. I am not alone in this.

There isn’t much that I envy of others, except, perhaps, to have been in one of his classrooms while he was teaching at The California College of the Arts. I am a public college fine art school drop out.

Too late now, I’m afraid, for all of that. I’m self-taught, mostly, and it’s through practice that I’ve become remotely proficient. Through much trial and failure. I suppose that could be said of most anything, in my case – lots of trials; lots of failures.

BarronSig_web[inscription in my Life After Black book, images excerpted from his visual journals]

In the midst of all of those, though, are the wild successes. Things that I’ve made that I can hardly believe came from my hands. Pieces I’ve written that I barely recognize as having been borne of my mind. But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

I think artists (ALL artists… writers, painters, actors, circus performers, musicians, sculptors, mimes, burlesque dancers, opera singers…) are speaking their truths, expressing what society so desperately needs to hear but seldom voices.

That is our purpose.

morning pages

Back on the wagon again this morning. After a very long hiatus, I am calling in this morning for some Parallel-Universe time with Jill. Since it’s a long distance cell phone call for me, I can’t afford to stay on the call for the whole hour but I’ve checked in now and will call back just before the top of the hour to check back in at the end.

So I wanted to limber up a little bit here (in these morning pages) before I head over to my short story. I’ve just barely rolled out of bed this morning and made myself a coffee in time for the call. I haven’t been getting up in time most of the mornings that the sessions have been held so I consider this morning a triumph in starting to turn around my very weird body clock back to its usual routines.

My body’s been feeling better. It will be four weeks this Friday since the surgery and I’m finally moving and sleeping a little less gingerly, though some tender spots remain on my belly and right side. After rereading the post-operative instruction pamphlet a couple of days ago, I realized that I could have removed the steri-strips a while ago, but I have to admit that they intimidated me. Much like my reaction to the appendix surgery incision I got in 1971, looking beneath the bandage to see what is under there is always a bit alarming when you realize how many layers of tissue they had to cut through to get inside to where they needed to go. My inside part is always a weird concept for me, because I feel like I *am* inside, inside looking out at the world, and that when sharp objects are poked through my outer layers into my viscera, it is clear that those insides and the ones I think I am inhabiting are not the same. It’s an odd dichotomy.

Yesterday I watched yet another video of Danielle Laporte with a guest speaker, this time Linda Siverstein, discussing their new offering of the Big Beautiful Book Plan. I’m convinced that the reasons that people like Danielle are so successful is multi-fold –clearly without talent and compelling content you will go no where– but the primary aspect of the dissemination of her work is due, I think, to the fact that she enjoys the business end of her work. Downright relishes it, even. ‘Business’ brings up all kinds of stuff for me, notably the fact that while Danielle claims to be able to sell ice to the Inuit, I on the other hand couldn’t sell them a furnace even if I was one of few furnace retailers during a particularly vicious cold snap.

Selling makes me feel uncomfortable in the same way that self-assessment during the annual review process does. My idea is that: I serve a purpose, I fulfill that purpose to the best of my ability by doing the work expected of the role I serve. Whether others like the purpose I serve or not is not up for discussion nor for me to justify. I was invited to show up and served that purpose, in whatever concrete or organic way that purpose chose to manifest itself. I don’t keep track of every little thing that I do on the journey of serving. I simply don’t have the attention span for that – I’m not built that way. I’ve tried to keep track, though, because these details and calculations are apparently key to getting a good review and the bonus that invariably goes with one. Writing down the big projects – the end results – isn’t enough to make people understand all of the steps and the value of your contribution – the amazing accomplishment of getting to the end of the line. They need the details, the minutia, in excruciating (and self-aggrandizing) detail.

While I can mechanize some processes that I undertake to get from A to B, oftentimes they end up being a rather flexible (and innate) process. I might take a different route one day just for the sake of variety and I might even discover that instead of B, a new route to C is an even better outcome. I will change and adapt, and the discovery process is an infinite one. Rigid constraints stifle me in a way that I can’t even begin to properly describe without using words like “suffocate” and “airless” and “drowning”. I feel these physically, in my body, when I think of constraints. Apparently more exploration is needed in that area. ::head desk::

So I’m off to my short story now, but I leave you with these thoughts of constraint and restriction and expansion and freedom. In some respects I think constraints are good – having a base structure to work off of is essential to not totally getting lost meandering – but at what point does it stop serving you (and your purpose)? What do they mean to you? How do you work within their parameters? Do constraints feed you or do they pull the air out of your sails?

the anatomy of desire

I love

So tell me… how do you want to feel?

I’ve been reading Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map with great interest the last couple of weeks. I’ve been pondering on what desires are – the difference between the transient yearnings and those at the root of my core operating system. The latest chapter up for discussion speaks to the difference between feelings and emotions, or whether there is a difference in the nuance, and whether it matters in any other way but for our own point of reference.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done some deeper inquiry, well THIS deep anyway (and long is a relative term in my world) but I’ve found this tack particularly useful – I wish I would have come across this earlier – much, much earlier.

Isn’t it simply brilliant to think to come at a result through how we want to feel while in the process, throughout its pursuit? Not just at the assumed end of the journey, when you’ve gotten what you have been wanting but all along it too, because how you feel throughout every moment of it is equally important?

Yeah, yeah… we’ve seen the whole “the joy is in the journey” spiel, but funnelling it down to how you want to feel throughout the journey is different from deriving joy from the journey in some indefinite, abstract, way, despite the journey oftentimes bucking you in the head many times over for good measure. It’s almost antithetical, that way of looking – like testing to see how many times can you be smacked over the head and still get up with a smile.

I’ve mentioned before how much of a self-help queen I’ve been throughout my life. I mean we might as well make the best of it while we are here, and there is always room for new learning (even Einstein said so : “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know”).

I find that through this adjusted perspective I come to know myself a little better. I pay more attention – to myself, to others. Awareness seeps outward like an ink stain on a white shirt, and with it a sense of joy, too. We all desire joy, happiness. It is what drives us onward to seek it out, and yet the ways in which we come to feel it are vastly different. The more insight we can have into that unfolding, the better.

I think about the conversations I could have had with former lovers about desires, which might have led to different choices by virtue of the clarity that this process enables. Well, assuming people engage with the line of inquiry… that engagement or lack of it speaks volumes anyway.

I ponder why it is so difficult for people to communicate on a deeper level. Are we just afraid of risking vulnerability or is it something else? Are we afraid to really delve that deeply into ourselves? Or are we just afraid of what we might find there, much less admitting it to another? Or is it fact that once we see something, whatever it is, we can no longer deny it, and something must be done about it. We must deal with our desires. Maybe we are not equipped to deal with them all. The thing about desires, though, is that when you dig down deep enough, they become simple. It is how we pursue fulfilling them that complicates things, sometimes.

I’m pretty sure my core desires haven’t changed much over the years, only the ways in which I go about filling them. Or perhaps rather in how I’ve come to define them. I’ve come a long way there too, I think. It makes me happy to know that – to really feel it. I suppose it would be easy considering I have only myself to contend with, and that it’s impossible to be externally influenced if one is not sharing one’s life with another. And yet I’d like to think that I’ve become self-aware enough that even if another person were to come into my periphery that I would remain consistent – true to the desires I wish to attend to at my core. I hope so, anyway.

I fully resonate with the sayings that acknowledge that knowing oneself is the greatest freedom, or wisdom. It empowers you to make choices. Any other way would mean that the choices you make end up ruling you, cutting off your freedom to make any due to their very involuntary nature.

Desire has been given such a bad rap. It’s become a dirty word, not because of the more visceral aspects it suggests, the sexual connotations. Rather, because of the complexity of dealing with the underlying urges that push us to act out of our place of desire, it has become something to subjugate or annihilate – it’s supposedly the beast that must be slain, a thing that while alive will always risk injury to self or others. I think perhaps unexamined desire is that way, but when investigated and not left to fester and morph into something horribly formidable, it serves our higher purpose. It becomes our ally. It moves us to create.

morning pages

It’s cold in here. The furnace has been shut off (at least I think it has, because Tyler sent me a text telling me that he would shut it off because, well, it’s supposed to be summer shortly) but this morning it’s fucking cold in here, especially in my blanket skirt, because I just shlepped out of bed in my panties and my Grim “I’ve Come to Reap Your Immortal Soul” tank top and the blanket that I usually wrap around my ass should really just be replaced with a snuggie this morning because my arms and legs are cold.

Coffee is being made, because without coffee the neurons in my brain don’t fire nearly as well at this time of the morning. Seriously, what was I thinking, getting up this early? The cat woke me up at a little after five, and then I got up to pee and then I checked my phone and saw that I had a new Twitter follower and then I fell down the interwebz rabbit hole, all the way to James Franco (how the hell did I get here?!).

So, coffee. And the decision to do morning pages, because I miss Hollywood and California and staying at the Chateau even for a handful of weekends was like a little piece of dream, right there. I realize people are all just as skewed as I am, only in different ways. We all have a dream, and even when we find our way to it, it’s never what we think it is.

Which brings me around to desire. And my continuing saga of Desire Mapping. And.. but wait.. coffee…

Impossible blue sky. At least when it’s not smog filled. California. I ran away from it, tail between my legs. I failed at the one thing that I thought I would succeed at.

Ahhh… coffee (::sip, sip::)

I’m almost out (of coffee, I mean) – will have to walk across the street to Thrifty’s and get some more. Maybe I’ll even splurge and go next door to Starbucks instead because when the Nabob is going for almost ten bucks, seriously why bother with that when you can get a pound of Brezza Blend – that coffee is the shit? Except when you can’t because it’s almost double the cost of the Nabob.

Oh yeah… I was wondering why I’d gotten up so early. Must have been the post Chinese food induced early evening coma that knocked me out earlier than usual. That, and the cat and the bladder and James Franco. Man, I’m so out of the loop on the who’s-who… I’m going to have to run a search because I don’t even really know who he is, except that I read one of his blog posts and I like how he writes – at least how he wrote that one. And that I had some bungalow envy. Seriously – some of those cottages were bigger than the apartment we were renting in Irvine. I suppose if I could afford to regularly pay, per square foot, what I did for a weekend bungalow I’d’ve had a bigger place in Irvine, too.

Hey, I like my place here in PoMo though. It’s bigger, certs – room for all of my freakin’ books. Ahhh books. I seriously have issues. It’s a visual thing; a tactile thing; a sapiophile thing. But the rain… the rain undoes me. I don’t mind it occasionally but when people are dreading drought I silently, in my mind, give it a fist pump. Selfish. I know. How I survived 29 years of northeastern climate I haven’t a clue. Even then I dreamt of California. I remember. We were living in an upper floor triplex on Darveau and it must have been 1971-ish and I remember flipping through the pages of these geographical encyclopedias and looking at the demographics and climate and the GNP and determining that it was either Florida or California, or bust. Less Florida, because there was more humidity, weird critters and less Hollywood. Seriously. Hollywood was always a draw (even though I hadn’t a clue how I could possibly integrate into it whatever it produced-mostly produce, according to the books).

Now… I don’t like to think of it as an entity, Hollywood, at least not the part I’m interested in contributing to, but it probably is to some extent. When I consider what that feels like, I feel it slither through like something out of a Clive Barker novel.

Desire. Maps. Back to the topic. During our Spreecast meet yesterday, our little book group touched on dreams – at this point in the book the discussion touches on how we stifle, stuff and skew our desires, how there is almost a sense of embarrassment around enunciating them even to ourselves (well, the embarrassment is my own – but I don’t think I’m alone in this).

I’d mentioned that when I think about what I desire in my vision of a perfect life, some of the scenarios are so disparate that it would be difficult for them to coexist, or make sense that the same person is conceiving them both. For example: living off the grid, raising goats or alpacas or both (because YARN and CHEESE) and raising a few chickens and growing some veggies and learning how to can stuff and generally being self-sufficient… OR living in a beach house in Malibu or some other coastal (and possibly less prone to landslides) California property where I’d be free to write and create and collect Oscars for my efforts and BEACH.

They are not all that disparate though, since Kim could easily see how they related : freedom. Conveniently, I’d already written it down as one of my words, one of my core desired feeling words.

Freedom.

Of course I picked some other, more obscure words, because I’m a pompous ass, occasionally, and I can use Big Words even if you can’t. So, aside from freedom, they are:

Cohesion : Satiated : Vital : Cogent : Affluent

(I’ll probably change my mind, again, about these words and the ones that follow. I’m nothing if not consistent with my transience.)

The last one was ripped from Danielle’s list, because why not? Affluence brings freedom, even as it can take it away – I suppose it depends. The fluvial aspect of it, the allusion of flow, appeals to me. But perhaps ‘satiated’ covers just about everything, in a nutshell. I want enough, dammit, whatever enough is for me, even as it is prone to constant reassessment on what that might look like at any given time. Enough. MORE even.

I wonder where that comes from, that desire for enough? Weeeeeell… I know *where* it comes from, but examining the why and the how is my point now.

Fun, this, isn’t it? Seriously – I wear myself out sometimes. I’m nothing if not examined. All nooks and crannies get blinded by a flashlight beam, semi-regularly.

But still. (See that? I’ve started multiple sentences with a conjunction. Deal with it.)

I was surprised at the resistance I felt when airing, out loud, what I wanted. Even when I knew that the people I was airing them to would be supportive and uncritical.

Which leads me to…

Why is it that some people just adore going around with a pin just so they can burst people’s balloons? If people were empowered and supported throughout the building process, there isn’t much that they couldn’t accomplish, even their wildest notions. So what is it about those that feel compelled to tear down instead of build up? What is the appeal?

My mom was that person. She always told me to be realistic when I’d start tugging on the constraints of the small picture that she’d painted as my possibility. And the truth is, sometimes reality sucks. Also, though, while sheer escapism doesn’t liberate you from present circumstances, the ability to dream and imagine a more creative outcome, and a way to get there, requires the ability to step out of reality.

For a long time I’d all but lost that ability to step outside. I’m relieved to see that it’s coming back.

And now for some more coffee.

sometimes no words are needed

Well, not mine, anyway… a brilliant and engaging Ted Talk for your viewing pleasure, on the nature of inquiry, discovery, and the [creative] cloud… enjoy! Adriane xo

coaching the creative

Years ago, when I signed up for Jill Badonsky’s Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching program, it was largely a form of self-service : I needed to gather together and implement a set of tools in my creativity arsenal so that I could continue tapping into the parts of myself that I knew I was here to not only exercise but express to the world.

Earlier this week I commented in my little co-admined (with Kim and Lisa) Facebook art group, Salon des Muses, that getting artists to collectively do anything is a little bit like herding goldfish. You can say your piece and suggest… and the rest is pretty much up to the universe and each individual artist to take note of and follow… or not.

The same can be said of the artist’s creativity, too. Ever try herding goldfish? Me neither, but the only way that they seem to be remotely interested in being led to a specific area of the pond is if they are enticed by something yummy that they simply can’t resist partaking in.

Herding the Artist
Creative types are notoriously resistant to being told what to do. In fact, the more you insist on telling them what they should be doing, the more they will blow you off. Well-intentioned advice will oftentimes fall on deaf ears and achieve the opposite result. So how does one get around that?

1. Engage innate intelligence.
The mind loves a good puzzle. Ask it enough questions and it will come up with answers (and all answers are good answers). Better yet, ask it just before lights out and you may well have some answers upon waking up the next day. We all have an inner-sphynx that asks oblique questions and demands the right answers in order for us to move on to the next phase. So if something is vexing you, start by asking:

  • What has worked in the past?
  • What drew you to the project in question?
  • What made you fall in love enough with a creative idea so much that you felt compelled to court it?
  • Can you remember or tap into that initial excitement; how?

2. Keep things light.
Play is the single most overlooked aspect of the creative process. As children, creative output was always a by-product of something else – engaging in play or immersion into our imaginations. How to lighten up? Try…

  • engaging in the absurd. Nonsensical mental jogs keep us from getting too entrenched in our work – just ask Dr. Seuss.
  • approaching whatever you are doing with curiosity, just to see what happens next.
  • pretending you are creating from the point of view of one of the subjects of your art work, or story characters.
  • letting your medium express itself as though you were conducting an interview – ask it some Q&A’s. What does it have to tell you?

3. Create a space-time container.
There is nothing that encourages greater procrastination than not allowing for adequate time in which to create. To stay engaged in a creative project one must actually, well, interact with it. The only way I know to do that is to actually schedule time for it, just like one would for any other item on our vast to-do list. Setting up specific times in which to create, or to interact with a coach, helps keep things moving along. Jill hosts Parallel-Universe time weekly – it’s a great opportunity, if you don’t otherwise, to engage in your creative process in a “held” space.

4. Change the vibe from obligation to opportunity.
One of my biggest takeaways from Jill’s work is the phrase “I get to…” inserted in front of just about anything I am in some way resistant to. As a general rule, life becomes so much more filled with gratitude and grace when you realize just how lucky you are to “get to” do all of the things you do, all the time. When applied directly to a creative process, which is way cool to be able to engage in anyway when you think about it, it turns an “I have to” into something far more appealing. How lucky is that?!

5. Own the progress.
Many creative types are also high-achieving perfectionists. Chances are they out-perform the vast majority of people production-wise, when comparisons are made, and they STILL think they are falling short and aren’t doing “enough”. Keeping score of what you DO do helps put things into better perspective and continues to fuel the enthusiasm you have for the things you are building toward. I recommend investing in some gold stars and using them copiously and conspicuously in your scheduler.

6. Learn to love the tortoise vibe.
Slow and steady does indeed win the race. Item 5. helps keep the progress in focus but breaking things down into tiny little steps will inhibit the feeling of overwhelm that invariably makes many of us short-circuit into inaction. How small? So small that you can do whatever “it” is in ten minutes or less. If you become lost in a time-space fold and end up working for longer, you can always claim it was quantum mechanics at work.

7. Pull straws.
If your creative mind is anything like mine, there is never a shortage of ideas flowing through your consciousness stream. Thing is, you can’t do it all, all at once, so you are going to have to pull straws on which ones get to be in the spot light and which ones are just gonna have to wait. The particularly appealing ones I scoop up for future reference (I jot down the ideas in my iNotes) while others will just have to be left to swim on by and be caught in someone else’s net. The matter of which projects to work on is always a question of how many to adequately juggle before you end up with a trout slapping you on the head and the rest of the fish flailing around on the ground. So put the ones you aren’t working on into a holding tank where they are easily accessible and focus on the one sitting on your head. It will all go swimmingly that way.

8. Comparison kills creativity.
Have you ever seen little Billy unabashedly, unapologetically paint his trees blue? Damned right you have. And he could give a rat’s ass that trees are generally not that colour, and that fish don’t customarily float through the atmosphere like clouds. Kids will generally look at each other’s drawings and yell “coooooool!!!” when they see some amazing stuff their own imaginations hadn’t yet thought to conjure up but they will not generally feel ashamed of sharing what they’ve made. Kids proudly and regularly brandish their creations. Take it from them. They know better than us stuffy ole grown ups. And you know what else? There’s room on the classroom wall for all of it.

So, that’s about it for today. Know that the world is ready to witness your genius. Know that you create because you were meant to express yourself exactly in the way that you do.

Adriane xo

hip-hip-hippity-hop – a blog tour

20140608-132355-48235904.jpg

I haven’t done one of these Q&A’s in a while, so when I was invited to join in on the tour by Kim of MuseCraft, it was hard to resist. This blog tour has been going on for a while, and everyone who participates gets to invite others, so there are lots of links to follow back through the tour… to which I say : EYECANDY!!! Go check it out!

So without further ado, the four questions about myself:

What am I working on?

I’ve always got a bunch of things going on, both in relation to my writing as well as my art stuffs.

I’m working on two main writing projects at the moment. I’m working on a story called The Incredible Virtues of Cauliflower. Initially I was going to write it as a screenplay but I’m just going to get the sucker out and then figure out what to do with it – at the moment it looks to be novella length. It’s like birthing a child, this. The story is about a guy who falls in love with a woman after he sees her through a telescope.

The other writing project is my little mostly visual story of Darika. This poor li’l story has been in production for ages – far too long to not be embarrassed by the languidness of its unfolding, but it’s my story (“Darika” is an anagram of my own nickname as a child) and it’s sort of a mythologized autobiography of how I discovered art as a child and how it continues to support me throughout every step of my life.

I am also developing a 52-week program (which I intend to freely disseminate under the inspiration tab of my website – though tips are welcome, if people are moved to contribute) which will approach creating as a form of meditative practice. It’s meant to be used as a way to reach personal and individual inner wisdom rather than a “do this to get that” thing. You become your own facilitator by finding your own way to your creative process.

I’ve been doing this on and off for a long while (it’s my set-point when I am in flow) and when ever I’ve fallen out of this groove I find I also lose my centre. I feel compelled to share this with the world, and it may not be anything new, per se, especially since so much of this is an integration of different processes that I’ve learnt over the years, but perhaps the combination is unique to me.

I recently made a tiny book called How to Navigate Loss. Inspired by Maya Stein’s prompt (of the title) I made the first one for her tiny book library and then decided that I ought to make a more refined version and offer it up as a limited edition. The books are tiny little works of art with a beautiful, healing message, hand made as they are ordered and only a limited number will be available.

I also just built a new Wix website and now that I have a quasi-shop space, I feel compelled to develop things to put up in there. Aside from the Tiny Book, as well as some other handmade items (some jewelry pieces, small original paintings, etc.), I’m in the process of conceptualizing some patterns for fingerless mitts/cuffs, and I plan to sell both the patterns and the actual wearables so that people can either make it themselves or buy the ready-made stuff if they are not DIY-inclined. I’m also working on putting together some images for greeting cards or little art prints. I will use a third-party for the production/shipping of the paper goods because I’m just not set up at the moment to do it myself, but at least I’ll start getting my stuff out there.

And finally, inspired by Squam Art Workshops (which I can’t currently and may never be able to afford to attend), I’m plotting “The Amazing PJ Getaway in the Great Wet North” for next spring (April). I have a couple of friends already on board… more are welcome (though no more than eight, because then it’s just going to be outta control space-wise). But plotting course/share offerings, goodie/trade bags, local walkabouts, radical quasi-rituals, and menu massaging… because food must be good/healthy/indulgent…! The event will be free except for pitching in for materials and food and whatever related airfare will cost to get here, if travelling from afar. And pyjamas and an open spirit are a requisite.

Aside from that I’m always thinking things up and making stuff. I can’t help it.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not really sure. I tend to take in what others are doing kind of like enjoying a nice piece of fruit and I don’t often compare my own work to what everyone else is doing, so I’m not really sure how it differs or is similar. I do make an effort to be original in content and execution, but I’ve been creating for so long now that I imagine my stuff must look unique to some extent.

I just do and make and create and hope that it offers my own perspective and that the flavour of my essence comes through in my art and words.

Why do I write/create what I do?

So for me the point of all of this is to express… paint the picture of yourself, continuously. It’s through that act of self-expression that we come to know our ever-changing selves. And the expression is the beauty – the beautiful thing to behold. It’s a shifting masterpiece, a performance piece.

Creation encompasses everything, not just the arts but… how we roll out of bed is a dance, the angle we fill the kettle with water at the sink is a sculptural study, the movement of our feet against the pavement a moving syncopated sound composition, how bodies of people acknowledge each other while crossing from opposite sides of the intersection a choreography of movement.

It’s all so fascinating at that level.

Yeah, sometimes the mundane shit wears us down because we stop being present and want to be elsewhere, but as soon as you pull the focus back to the doing, it becomes this amazing dance again, a co-creative symphony of movement and creation.

How does your writing/creating process work?

It depends on which part we are talking about, and which form. I could drive myself mad with all of the ideas always flowing through, especially if I tried pursuing them simultaneously.

Just.Too.Much.

So when I get an idea I jot it down in my iNotes (how cool is Cloud computing?!). The notes transfer to all my devices so I have access to all of my little ideas where ever I am. I add to them as things occur to me. When there’s enough there, or I feel moved to push the concept further, I start working on it in earnest.

Poetry flows of its own volition. Very rarely do I sit down to specifically compose poems. They come like a sirocco wind and blow through me. I remember hearing about how Ruth Stone explained her experience and thought “yes, exactly!”. Grab that sucker by its’ tail.

My other, lengthier, writing starts with idea kernels that I let incubate until they are ready to come to life on the page and develop into bigger stories. I’ve tried over the years to be more disciplined in my writing (i.e., create an outline, make character sketches, etc.) but I’m just not there yet. Maybe I’ll never be. I know who the characters are because I carry them inside me and they become “real” to me as the story incubates. I have an idea of where I want to take the story and then let it write itself. I “see” my stories in my head unfolding like a movie, reel-by-reel, scene by scene. I just capture what comes through.

What I have done, though, in the way of being more disciplined, is to deliberately create a space container to allow for the words to manifest. If you don’t make the time and merely wait until the words are ready to come spilling out, you will be waiting a long time. The French have this saying… l’appétit vient en mangeant – your hunger will grow once you start eating the meal.

The visual stuff is similar, but again, it depends on what I’m creating. Because I make so many different things I operate differently for each. Making a beaded necklace will be approached differently than working in a visual journal. However, what is the same in all of these is that I allow myself to tap into the stillness inside and let it speak in the creative process. I sort of step out of the way and let this non-rational part pick colours and beads and paints and collage materials and techniques and create. It truly feels like a sort of out-of-body experience and a dance with the divine. When I’m in that space it’s exhilarating and I often look at what I’ve created in the end and think “wow… I did that?!”.

So that’s me, in a nutshell.  Now on to the next part – I get to introduce you to some other creatives who agreed to join in on this journey.  Go visit their websites/blogs/FB pages and see what they’re up to, and make sure to check in next Monday (June 16) for their blog tour posts.

Anastasia Olson

Anastasia is a jewellery designer and metal alchemist extraordinaire, creating artisan jewellery that is unique and organic – but with a polished sophistication – meticulously handcrafted in sterling silver, copper, brass and gemstones.

You can find Ana online on Facebook and at her website.

Belle Wong

Belle Wong is a writer and blogger. She writes about books, writing and creativity at MsBookish.com, and is currently hard at work on a mystery novel and a children’s fantasy. She loves reading and anything to do with creativity, is a closet foodie, and has been known to dabble messily in various artsy endeavours.

Belle can be found on Twitter at @msbookish and on Google+.

Lisa Gornicki Bolender

Lisa is a self-proclaimed creative wanderer living in Southern California, making art and coaching creative souls.

You can find Lisa online her website.